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Driven From Home by Horatio Alger

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Author of "Erie Train Boy," "Young Acrobat," "Only an Irish Boy,"
"Bound to Rise," "The Young Outlaw," "Hector's Inheritance," etc.




A boy of sixteen, with a small gripsack in
his hand, trudged along the country road. He
was of good height for his age, strongly built,
and had a frank, attractive face. He was
naturally of a cheerful temperament, but at present
his face was grave, and not without a shade
of anxiety. This can hardly be a matter of
surprise when we consider that he was thrown
upon his own resources, and that his available
capital consisted of thirty-seven cents in
money, in addition to a good education and
a rather unusual amount of physical strength.
These last two items were certainly valuable,
but they cannot always be exchanged for the
necessaries and comforts of life.

For some time his steps had been lagging,
and from time to time he had to wipe the moisture
from his brow with a fine linen handkerchief,
which latter seemed hardly compatible
with his almost destitute condition.

I hasten to introduce my hero, for such he
is to be, as Carl Crawford, son of Dr. Paul
Crawford, of Edgewood Center. Why he had
set out to conquer fortune single-handed will
soon appear.

A few rods ahead Carl's attention was
drawn to a wide-spreading oak tree, with a carpet
of verdure under its sturdy boughs.

"I will rest here for a little while," he said
to himself, and suiting the action to the word,
threw down his gripsack and flung himself on
the turf.

"This is refreshing," he murmured, as, lying
upon his back, he looked up through the leafy
rifts to the sky above. "I don't know when
I have ever been so tired. It's no joke walking
a dozen miles under a hot sun, with a heavy
gripsack in your hand. It's a good introduction
to a life of labor, which I have reason to
believe is before me. I wonder how I am coming
out--at the big or the little end of the horn?"

He paused, and his face grew grave, for he
understood well that for him life had become
a serious matter. In his absorption he did
not observe the rapid approach of a boy some-
what younger than himself, mounted on a bicycle.

The boy stopped short in surprise, and
leaped from his iron steed.

"Why, Carl Crawford, is this you? Where
in the world are you going with that gripsack?"

Carl looked up quickly.

"Going to seek my fortune," he answered, soberly.

"Well, I hope you'll find it. Don't chaff,
though, but tell the honest truth."

"I have told you the truth, Gilbert."

With a puzzled look, Gilbert, first leaning
his bicycle against the tree, seated himself on
the ground by Carl's side.

"Has your father lost his property?" he
asked, abruptly.


"Has he disinherited you?"

"Not exactly."

"Have you left home for good?"

"I have left home--I hope for good."

"Have you quarreled with the governor?"

"I hardly know what to say to that.
There is a difference between us."

"He doesn't seem like a Roman father--one
who rules his family with a rod of iron."

"No; he is quite the reverse. He hasn't
backbone enough."

"So it seemed to me when I saw him at the
exhibition of the academy. You ought to be
able to get along with a father like that, Carl."

"So I could but for one thing."

"What is that?"

"I have a stepmother!" said Carl, with a
significant glance at his companion.

"So have I, but she is the soul of kindness,
and makes our home the dearest place in the world."

"Are there such stepmothers? I shouldn't
have judged so from my own experience."

"I think I love her as much as if she were
my own mother."

"You are lucky," said Carl, sighing.

"Tell me about yours."

"She was married to my father five years
ago. Up to the time of her marriage I thought
her amiable and sweet-tempered. But soon
after the wedding she threw off the mask, and
made it clear that she disliked me. One reason
is that she has a son of her own about
my age, a mean, sneaking fellow, who is the
apple of her eye. She has been jealous of me,
and tried to supplant me in the affection of
my father, wishing Peter to be the favored son."

"How has she succeeded?"

"I don't think my father feels any love for
Peter, but through my stepmother's influence
he generally fares better than I do."

"Why wasn't he sent to school with you?"

"Because he is lazy and doesn't like study.
Besides, his mother prefers to have him at
home. During my absence she worked upon
my father, by telling all sorts of malicious
stories about me, till he became estranged from
me, and little by little Peter has usurped my
place as the favorite."

"Why didn't you deny the stories?" asked Gilbert.

"I did, but no credit was given to my
denials. My stepmother was continually poisoning
my father's mind against me."

"Did you give her cause? Did you behave
disrespectfully to her?"

"No," answered Carl, warmly. "I was
prepared to give her a warm welcome, and treat
her as a friend, but my advances were so coldly
received that my heart was chilled."

"Poor Carl! How long has this been so?"

"From the beginning--ever since Mrs. Crawford
came into the house."

"What are your relations with your step-
brother--what's his name?"

"Peter Cook. I despise the boy, for he is
mean, and tyrannical where he dares to be."

"I don't think it would be safe for him to
bully you, Carl."

"He tried it, and got a good thrashing. You
can imagine what followed. He ran, crying
to his mother, and his version of the story was
believed. I was confined to my room for a
week, and forced to live on bread and water."

"I shouldn't think your father was a man
to inflict such a punishment."

"It wasn't he--it was my stepmother. She
insisted upon it, and he yielded. I heard afterwards
from one of the servants that he wanted
me released at the end of twenty-four hours,
but she would not consent."

"How long ago was this?"

"It happened when I was twelve."

"Was it ever repeated?"

"Yes, a month later; but the punishment
lasted only for two days."

"And you submitted to it?"

"I had to, but as soon as I was released I
gave Peter such a flogging, with the promise
to repeat it, if I was ever punished in that
manner again, that the boy himself was panic-
stricken, and objected to my being imprisoned again."

"He must be a charming fellow!"

"You would think so if you should see him.
He has small, insignificant features, a turn-
up nose, and an ugly scowl that appears whenever
he is out of humor."

"And yet your father likes him?"

"I don't think he does, though Peter, by his
mother's orders, pays all sorts of small attentions--
bringing him his slippers, running on
errands, and so on, not because he likes it, but
because he wants to supplant me, as he has
succeeded in doing."

"You have finally broken away, then?"

"Yes; I couldn't stand it any longer. Home
had become intolerable."

"Pardon the question, but hasn't your father
got considerable property?"

"I have every reason to think so."

"Won't your leaving home give your step-
mother and Peter the inside track, and lead,
perhaps, to your disinheritance?"

"I suppose so," answered Carl, wearily; "but
no matter what happens, I can't bear to stay
at home any longer."

"You're badly fixed--that's a fact!" said
Gilbert, in a tone of sympathy. "What are
your plans?"

"I don't know. I haven't had time to think."



Gilbert wrinkled up his forehead and set
about trying to form some plans for Carl.

"It will be hard for you to support yourself,"
he said, after a pause; "that is, without help."

"There is no one to help me. I expect no help."

"I thought your father might be induced to
give you an allowance, so that with what you
can earn, you may get along comfortably."

"I think father would be willing to do this,
but my stepmother would prevent him."

"Then she has a great deal of influence over him?"

"Yes, she can twist him round her little finger."

"I can't understand it."

"You see, father is an invalid, and is very
nervous. If he were in perfect health he would
have more force of character and firmness. He
is under the impression that he has heart disease,
and it makes him timid and vacillating."

"Still he ought to do something for you."

"I suppose he ought. Still, Gilbert, I think
I can earn my living."

"What can you do?"

"Well, I have a fair education. I could be
an entry clerk, or a salesman in some store,
or, if the worst came to the worst, I could work
on a farm. I believe farmers give boys who
work for them their board and clothes."

"I don't think the clothes would suit you."

"I am pretty well supplied with clothing."

Gilbert looked significantly at the gripsack.

"Do you carry it all in there?" he asked, doubtfully.

Carl laughed.

"Well, no," he answered. "I have a trunkful
of clothes at home, though."

"Why didn't you bring them with you?"

"I would if I were an elephant. Being only
a boy, I would find it burdensome carrying a
trunk with me. The gripsack is all I can very
well manage."

"I tell you what," said Gilbert. "Come
round to our house and stay overnight. We
live only a mile from here, you know. The
folks will be glad to see you, and while you
are there I will go to your house, see the
governor, and arrange for an allowance for you
that will make you comparatively independent."

"Thank you, Gilbert; but I don't feel like
asking favors from those who have ill-treated me."

"Nor would I--of strangers; but Dr. Crawford
is your father. It isn't right that Peter,
your stepbrother, should be supported in ease
and luxury, while you, the real son, should
be subjected to privation and want."

"I don't know but you are right," admitted
Carl, slowly.

"Of course I am right. Now, will you make
me your minister plenipotentiary, armed with
full powers?"

"Yes, I believe I will."

"That's right. That shows you are a boy
of sense. Now, as you are subject to my
directions, just get on that bicycle and I will
carry your gripsack, and we will seek Vance
Villa, as we call it when we want to be high-
toned, by the most direct route."

"No, no, Gilbert; I will carry my own
gripsack. I won't burden you with it," said Carl,
rising from his recumbent position.

"Look here, Carl, how far have you walked
with it this morning?"

"About twelve miles."

"Then, of course, you're tired, and require
rest. Just jump on that bicycle, and I'll take
the gripsack. If you have carried it twelve
miles, I can surely carry it one."

"You are very kind, Gilbert."

"Why shouldn't I be?"

"But it is imposing up on your good nature."

But Gilbert had turned his head in a backward
direction, and nodded in a satisfied way
as he saw a light, open buggy rapidly approaching.

"There's my sister in that carriage," he said.
"She comes in good time. I will put you and
your gripsack in with her, and I'll take to my
bicycle again."

"Your sister may not like such an arrangement."

"Won't she though! She's very fond of
beaux, and she will receive you very graciously."

"You make me feel bashful, Gilbert."

"You won't be long. Julia will chat away
to you as if she'd known you for fifty years."

"I was very young fifty years ago," said
Carl, smiling.

"Hi, there, Jule!" called Gilbert, waving his hand.

Julia Vance stopped the horse, and looked
inquiringly and rather admiringly at Carl,
who was a boy of fine appearance.

"Let me introduce you to my friend and
schoolmate, Carl Crawford."

Carl took off his hat politely.

"I am very glad to make your acquaintance,
Mr. Crawford," said Julia, demurely; "I have
often heard Gilbert speak of you."

"I hope he said nothing bad about me, Miss Vance."

"You may be sure he didn't. If he should now--
I wouldn't believe him."

"You've made a favorable impression, Carl,"
said Gilbert, smiling.

"I am naturally prejudiced against boys--
having such a brother," said Julia; "but it is
not fair to judge all boys by him."

"That is outrageous injustice!" said Gilbert;
"but then, sisters seldom appreciate their brothers."

"Some other fellows' sisters may," said Carl.

"They do, they do!"

"Did you ever see such a vain, conceited boy,
Mr. Crawford?"

"Of course you know him better than I do."

"Come, Carl; it's too bad for you, too, to
join against me. However, I will forget and
forgive. Jule, my friend, Carl, has accepted
my invitation to make us a visit."

"I am very glad, I am sure," said Julia,

"And I want you to take him in, bag and
baggage, and convey him to our palace, while
I speed thither on my wheel."

"To be sure I will, and with great pleasure."

"Can't you get out and assist him into the
carriage, Jule?"

"Thank you," said Carl; "but though I am
somewhat old and quite infirm, I think I can
get in without troubling your sister. Are you
sure, Miss Vance, you won't be incommoded
by my gripsack?"

"Not at all."

"Then I will accept your kind offer."

In a trice Carl was seated next to Julia, with
his valise at his feet.

"Won't you drive, Mr. Crawford?" said the
young lady.

"Don't let me take the reins from you."

"I don't think it looks well for a lady to
drive when a gentleman is sitting beside her."

Carl was glad to take the reins, for he liked driving.

"Now for a race!" said Gilbert, who was
mounted on his bicycle.

"All right!" replied Carl. "Look out for us!"

They started, and the two kept neck and
neck till they entered the driveway leading
up to a handsome country mansion.

Carl followed them into the house, and was
cordially received by Mr. and Mrs. Vance,
who were very kind and hospitable, and were
favorably impressed by the gentlemanly
appearance of their son's friend.

Half an hour later dinner was announced,
and Carl, having removed the stains of travel
in his schoolmate's room, descended to the dining-
room, and, it must be confessed, did ample
justice to the bounteous repast spread before him.

In the afternoon Julia, Gilbert and he
played tennis, and had a trial at archery. The
hours glided away very rapidly, and six o'clock
came before they were aware.

"Gilbert," said Carl, as they were preparing
for tea, "you have a charming home."

"You have a nice house, too, Carl."

"True; but it isn't a home--to me.
There is no love there."

"That makes a great difference."

"If I had a father and mother like yours
I should be happy."

"You must stay here till day after tomorrow,
and I will devote to-morrow to a visit in
your interest to your home. I will beard the
lion in his den--that is, your stepmother.
Do you consent?"

"Yes, I consent; but it won't do any good."

"We will see."



Gilbert took the morning train to the town
of Edgewood Center, the residence of the Crawfords.
He had been there before, and knew
that Carl's home was nearly a mile distant
from the station. Though there was a hack
in waiting, he preferred to walk, as it would
give him a chance to think over what he proposed
to say to Dr. Crawford in Carl's behalf.

He was within a quarter of a mile of his
destination when his attention was drawn to a
boy of about his own age, who was amusing
himself and a smaller companion by firing
stones at a cat that had taken refuge in a tree.
Just as Gilbert came up, a stone took effect,
and the poor cat moaned in affright, but did
not dare to come down from her perch, as this
would put her in the power of her assailant.

"That must be Carl's stepbrother, Peter,"
Gilbert decided, as he noted the boy's mean
face and turn-up nose. "Stoning cats seems
to be his idea of amusement. I shall take the
liberty of interfering."

Peter Cook laughed heartily at his successful aim.

"I hit her, Simon," he said. "Doesn't she
look seared?"

"You must have hurt her."

"I expect I did. I'll take a bigger stone next time."

He suited the action to the word, and picked
up a rock which, should it hit the poor cat,
would in all probability kill her, and prepared
to fire.

"Put down that rock!" said Gilbert, indignantly.

Peter turned quickly, and eyed Gilbert insolently.

"Who are you?" he demanded.

"No matter who I am. Put down that rock!"

"What business is it of yours?"

"I shall make it my business to protect that
cat from your cruelty."

Peter, who was a natural coward, took courage
from having a companion to back him up,
and retorted: "You'd better clear out of here,
or I may fire at you."

"Do it if you dare!" said Gilbert, quietly.

Peter concluded that it would be wiser not
to carry out his threat, but was resolved to
keep to his original purpose. He raised his
arm again, and took aim; but Gilbert rushed
in, and striking his arm forcibly, compelled
him to drop it.

"What do you mean by that, you loafer?"
demanded Peter, his eyes blazing with anger.

"To stop your fun, if that's what you call it."

"I've a good mind to give you a thrashing."

Gilbert put himself in a position of defense.

"Sail in, if you want to!" he responded.

"Help me, Simon!" said Peter. "You grab
his legs, and I'll upset him."

Simon, who, though younger, was braver
than Peter, without hesitation followed directions.
He threw himself on the ground and
grasped Gilbert by the legs, while Peter,
doubling up his fists, made a rush at his enemy.
But Gilbert, swiftly eluding Simon, struck out
with his right arm, and Peter, unprepared for
so forcible a defense, tumbled over on his back,
and Simon ran to his assistance.

Gilbert put himself on guard, expecting a
second attack; but Peter apparently thought
it wiser to fight with his tongue.

"You rascal!" he shrieked, almost foaming
at the mouth; "I'll have you arrested."

"What for?" asked Gilbert, coolly.

"For flying at me like a--a tiger, and trying
to kill me."

Gilbert laughed at this curious version of things.

"I thought it was you who flew at me," he said.

"What business had you to interfere with me?"

"I'll do it again unless you give up firing
stones at the cat."

"I'll do it as long as I like."

"She's gone!" said Simon.

The boys looked up into the tree, and could
see nothing of puss. She had taken the
opportunity, when her assailant was otherwise
occupied, to make good her escape.

"I'm glad of it!" said Gilbert. "Good-
morning, boys! When we meet again, I hope you
will be more creditably employed."

"You don't get off so easy, you loafer," said
Peter, who saw the village constable approaching.
"Here, Mr. Rogers, I want you to arrest
this boy."

Constable Rogers, who was a stout, broad-
shouldered man, nearly six feet in height,
turned from one to the other, and asked:
"What has he done?"

"He knocked me over. I want him arrested
for assault and battery."

"And what did you do?"

"I? I didn't do anything."

"That is rather strange. Young man, what
is your name?"

"Gilbert Vance."

"You don't live in this town?"

"No; I live in Warren."

"What made you attack Peter?"

"Because he flew at me, and I had to defend myself."

"Is this so, Simon? You saw all that happened."

"Ye--es," admitted Simon, unwillingly.

"That puts a different face on the matter.
I don't see how I can arrest this boy. He had
a right to defend himself."

"He came up and abused me--the loafer,"
said Peter.

"That was the reason you went at him?"


"Have you anything to say?" asked the
constable, addressing Gilbert.

"Yes, sir; when I came up I saw this boy
firing stones at a cat, who had taken refuge
in that tree over there. He had just hit her,
and had picked up a larger stone to fire when
I ordered him to drop it."

"It was no business of yours," muttered Peter.

"I made it my business, and will again."

"Did the cat have a white spot on her forehead?"
asked the constable.

"Yes, sir."

"And was mouse colored?"

"Yes, sir."

"Why, it's my little girl's cat. She would
be heartbroken if the cat were seriously hurt.
You young rascal!" he continued, turning
suddenly upon Peter, and shaking him vigorously.
"Let me catch you at this business again, and
I'll give you such a warming that you'll never
want to touch another cat."

"Let me go!" cried the terrified boy.
"I didn't know it was your cat."

"It would have been just as bad if it had
been somebody else's cat. I ve a great mind
to put you in the lockup."

"Oh, don't, please don't, Mr. Rogers!"
implored Peter, quite panic-stricken.

"Will you promise never to stone another cat?"

"Yes, sir."

"Then go about your business."

Peter lost no time, but scuttled up the street
with his companion.

"I am much obliged to you for protecting
Flora's cat," then said the constable to Gilbert.

"You are quite welcome, sir. I won't see
any animal abused if I can help it."

"You are right there."

"Wasn't that boy Peter Cook?"

"Yes. Don't you know him?"

"No; but I know his stepbrother, Carl."

"A different sort of boy! Have you come
to visit him?"

"No; he is visiting me. In fact, he has left
home, because he could not stand his step-
mother's ill-treatment, and I have come to see
his father in his behalf."

"He has had an uncomfortable home. Dr.
Crawford is an invalid, and very much under
the influence of his wife, who seems to have
a spite against Carl, and is devoted to that
young cub to whom you have given a lesson.
Does Carl want to come back?"

"No; he wants to strike out for himself, but
I told him it was no more than right that he
should receive some help from his father."

"That is true enough. For nearly all the doctor's
money came to him through Carl's mother."

"I am afraid Peter and his mother won't
give me a very cordial welcome after what has
happened this morning. I wish I could see
the doctor alone."

"So you can, for there he is coming up the street."

Gilbert looked in the direction indicated,
and his glance fell on a thin, fragile-looking
man, evidently an invalid, with a weak,
undecided face, who was slowly approaching.

The boy advanced to meet him, and, taking
off his hat, asked politely: "Is this Dr. Crawford?"



Dr. Crawford stopped short, and eyed Gilbert attentively.

"I don't know you," he said, in a querulous tone.

"I am a schoolmate of your son, Carl.
My name is Gilbert Vance."

"If you have come to see my son you will
be disappointed. He has treated me in a
shameful manner. He left home yesterday
morning, and I don't know where he is."

"I can tell you, sir. He is staying--for a
day or two--at my father's house."

"Where is that?" asked Dr. Crawford, his
manner showing that he was confused.

"In Warren, thirteen miles from here."

"I know the town. What induced him to
go to your house? Have you encouraged him
to leave home?" inquired Dr. Crawford, with
a look of displeasure.

"No, sir. It was only by chance that I met
him a mile from our home. I induced him to
stay overnight."

"Did you bring me any message from him?"
"No, sir, except that he is going to strike
out for himself, as he thinks his home an
unhappy one."

"That is his own fault. He has had enough
to eat and enough to wear. He has had as
comfortable a home as yourself."

"I don't doubt that, but he complains that
his stepmother is continually finding fault
with him, and scolding him."

"He provokes her to do it. He is a headstrong,
obstinate boy."

"He never had that reputation at school, sir.
We all liked him."

"I suppose you mean to imply that I am in
fault?" said the doctor, warmly.

"I don't think you know how badly Mrs.
Crawford treats Carl, sir."

"Of course, of course. That is always said
of a stepmother."

"Not always, sir. I have a stepmother
myself, and no own mother could treat me better."

"You are probably a better boy."

"I can't accept the compliment. I hope
you'll excuse me saying it, Dr. Crawford, but
if my stepmother treated me as Carl says Mrs.
Crawford treats him I wouldn't stay in the
house another day."

"Really, this is very annoying," said Dr.
Crawford, irritably. "Have you come here
from Warren to say this?"

"No, sir, not entirely."

"Perhaps Carl wants me to receive him back.
I will do so if he promises to obey his stepmother."

"That he won't do, I am sure."

"Then what is the object of your visit?"

"To say that Carl wants and intends to earn
his own living. But it is hard for a boy of
his age, who has never worked, to earn enough
at first to pay for his board and clothes. He
asks, or, rather, I ask for him, that you will
allow him a small sum, say three or four
dollars a week, which is considerably less than
he must cost you at home, for a time until he
gets on his feet."

"I don't know," said Dr. Crawford, in a
vacillating tone. "I don't think Mrs. Crawford
would approve this."

"It seems to me you are the one to decide,
as Carl is your own son. Peter must cost you
a good deal more."

"Do you know Peter?"

"I have met him," answered Gilbert, with
a slight smile.

"I don't know what to say. You may be right.
Peter does cost me more."

"And Carl is entitled to be treated as well as he."

"I think I ought to speak to Mrs. Crawford
about it. And, by the way, I nearly forgot
to say that she charges Carl with taking money
from her bureau drawer before he went away.
It was a large sum, too--twenty-five dollars."

"That is false!" exclaimed Gilbert,
indignantly. "I am surprised that you should
believe such a thing of your own son."

"Mrs. Crawford says she has proof," said
the doctor, hesitating.

"Then what has he done with the money?
I know that he has but thirty-seven cents with
him at this time, and he only left home
yesterday. If the money has really been taken,
I think I know who took it."


"Peter Cook. He looks mean enough for anything."

"What right have you to speak so of Peter?"

"Because I caught him stoning a cat this
morning. He would have killed the poor
thing if I had not interfered. I consider that
worse than taking money."

"I--I don't know what to say. I can't agree
to anything till I have spoken with Mrs. Crawford.
Did you say that Carl had but thirty
seven cents?"

"Yes, sir; I presume you don't want him to starve?"

"No, of course not. He is my son, though
he has behaved badly. Here, give him that!"
and Dr. Crawford drew a ten-dollar bill from
his wallet, and handed it to Gilbert

"Thank you, sir. This money will be very
useful. Besides, it will show Carl that his
father is not wholly indifferent to him."

"Of course not. Who says that I am a bad
father?" asked Dr. Crawford, peevishly.

"I don't think, sir, there would be any
difficulty between you and Carl if you had not
married again."

"Carl has no right to vex Mrs. Crawford.
Besides, he can't agree with Peter."

"Is that his fault or Peter's?" asked Gilbert,

"I am not acquainted with the circumstances,
but Mrs. Crawford says that Carl is
always bullying Peter."

"He never bullied anyone at school."

"Is there anything, else you want?"

"Yes, sir; Carl only took away a little
underclothing in a gripsack. He would like his
woolen clothes put in his trunk, and to have
it sent----"


"Perhaps it had better be sent to my house.
There are one or two things in his room also
that he asked me to get."

"Why didn't he come himself?"

"Because he thought it would be unpleasant
for him to meet Mrs. Crawford. They would
be sure to quarrel."

"Well, perhaps he is right," said Dr.
Crawford, with an air of relief. "About the
allowance, I shall have to consult my wife. Will
you come with me to the house?"

"Yes, sir; I should like to have the matter
settled to-day, so that Carl will know what
to depend upon."

Gilbert rather dreaded the interview he was
likely to have with Mrs. Crawford; but he was
acting for Carl, and his feelings of friendship
were strong.

So he walked beside Dr. Crawford till they
reached the tasteful dwelling occupied as a
residence by Carl and his father.

"How happy Carl could he here, if he had
a stepmother like mine," Gilbert thought.

They went up to the front door, which was
opened for them by a servant.

"Jane, is Mrs. Crawford in?" asked the doctor.

"No, sir; not just now. She went to the
village to do some shopping."

"Is Peter in?"

"No, sir."

"Then you will have to wait till they return."

"Can't I go up to Carl's room and be packing
his things?"

"Yes, I think you may. I don't think Mrs.
Crawford would object."

"Good heavens! Hasn't the man a mind of
his own?" thought Gilbert.

"Jane, you may show this young gentleman
up to Master Carl's room, and give him the
key of his trunk. He is going to pack his

"When is Master Carl coming back?" asked Jane.

"I--I don't know. I think he will be away
for a time."

"I wish it was Peter instead of him," said
Jane, in a low voice, only audible to Gilbert.

She showed Gilbert the way upstairs, while
the doctor went to his study.

"Are you a friend of Master Carl's?" asked
Jane, as soon as they were alone.

"Yes, Jane."

"And where is he?"

"At my house."

"Is he goin' to stay there?"

"For a short time. He wants to go out into
the world and make his own living."

"And no wonder--poor boy! It's hard times
he had here."

"Didn't Mrs. Crawford treat him well?"
asked Gilbert, with curiosity

"Is it trate him well? She was a-jawin' an'
a-jawin' him from mornin' till night. Ugh,
but she's an ugly cr'atur'!"

"How about Peter?"

"He's just as bad--the m'anest bye I iver
set eyes on. It would do me good to see him

She chatted a little longer with Gilbert,
helping him to find Carl's clothes, when suddenly
a shrill voice was heard calling her from below.

"Shure, it's the madam!" said Jane, shrugging
her shoulders. "I expect she's in a temper;"
and she rose from her knees and hurried downstairs.



Five minutes later, as Gilbert was closing
the trunk, Jane reappeared.

"The doctor and Mrs. Crawford would like
to see you downstairs," she said.

Gilbert followed Jane into the library, where
Dr. Crawford and his wife were seated. He
looked with interest at the woman who had
made home so disagreeable to Carl, and was
instantly prejudiced against her. She was light
complexioned, with very light-brown hair,
cold, gray eyes, and a disagreeable expression
which seemed natural to her.

"My dear," said the doctor, "this is the
young man who has come from Carl."

Mrs. Crawford surveyed Gilbert with an
expression by no means friendly.

"What is your name?" she asked.

"Gilbert Vance."

"Did Carl Crawford send you here?"

"No; I volunteered to come."

"Did he tell you that he was disobedient and
disrespectful to me?"

"No; he told me that you treated him so
badly that he was unwilling to live in the
same house with you," answered Gilbert,

"Well, upon my word!" exclaimed Mrs.
Crawford, fanning herself vigorously.
"Dr. Crawford, did you hear that?"


"And what do you think of it?"

"Well, I think you may have been too hard upon Carl."

"Too hard? Why, then, did he not treat
me respectfully? This boy seems inclined to
be impertinent."

"I answered your questions, madam," said
Gilbert, coldly.

"I suppose you side with your friend Carl?"

"I certainly do."

Mrs. Crawford bit her lip.

"What is the object of your coming? Does
Carl wish to return?"

"I thought Dr. Crawford might have told you."

"Carl wants his clothes sent to him," said
the doctor. "He only carried a few with him."

"I shall not consent to it. He deserves no
favors at our hands."

This was too much even for Dr. Crawford.

"You go too far, Mrs. Crawford," he said.
"I am sensible of the boy's faults, but I
certainly will not allow his clothes to be
withheld from him."

"Oh, well! spoil him if you choose!" said the lady,
sullenly. "Take his part against your wife!"

"I have never done that, but I will not allow
him to be defrauded of his clothes."

"I have no more to say," said Mrs. Crawford,
her eyes snapping. She was clearly mortified
at her failure to carry her point.

"Do you wish the trunk to be sent to your house?"
asked the doctor.

"Yes, sir; I have packed the clothes and
locked the trunk."

"I should like to examine it before it goes,"
put in Mrs. Crawford, spitefully.


"To make sure that nothing has been put
in that does not belong to Carl."

"Do you mean to accuse me of stealing,
madam?" demanded Gilbert, indignantly.

Mrs. Crawford tossed her head.

"I don't know anything about you," she replied.

"Dr. Crawford, am I to open the trunk?"
asked Gilbert.

"No," answered the doctor, with unwonted decision.

"I hate that boy! He has twice subjected
me to mortification," thought Mrs. Crawford.

"You know very well," she said, turning to
her husband, "that I have grounds for my
request. I blush to mention it, but I have
reason to believe that your son took a wallet
containing twenty-five dollars from my bureau

"I deny it!" said Gilbert.

"What do you know about it, I should like
to ask?" sneered Mrs. Crawford.

"I know that Carl is an honorable boy,
incapable of theft, and at this moment has but
thirty-seven cents in his possession."

"So far as you know."

"If the money has really disappeared, madam,
you had better ask your own boy about it."

"This is insufferable!" exclaimed Mrs. Crawford,
her light eyes emitting angry flashes.
"Who dares to say that Peter took the wallet?"
she went on, rising to her feet.

There was an unexpected reply. Jane entered
the room at this moment to ask a question.

"I say so, ma'am," she rejoined.

"What?" ejaculated Mrs. Crawford, with
startling emphasis.

"I didn't mean to say anything about it till
I found you were charging it on Master Carl.
I saw Peter open your bureau drawer, take
out the wallet, and put it in his pocket."

"It's a lie!" said Mrs. Crawford, hoarsely.

"It's the truth, though I suppose you don't
want to believe it. If you want to know what
he did with the money ask him how much he
paid for the gold ring he bought of the jeweler
down at the village."

"You are a spy--a base, dishonorable spy!"
cried Mrs. Crawford.

"I won't say what you are, ma'am, to bring
false charges against Master Carl, and I wonder
the doctor will believe them."

"Leave the house directly, you hussy!"
shrieked Mrs. Crawford.

"If I do, I wonder who'll get the dinner?"
remarked Jane, not at all disturbed.

"I won't stay here to be insulted," said the
angry lady. "Dr. Crawford, you might have
spirit enough to defend your wife."

She flounced out of the room, not waiting
for a reply, leaving the doctor dazed and flurried.

"I hope, sir, you are convinced now that Carl
did not take Mrs. Crawford's money," said
Gilbert. "I told you it was probably Peter."

"Are you sure of what you said, Jane?"
asked the doctor.

"Yes, sir. I saw Peter take the wallet with
my own eyes."

"It is his mother's money, and they must
settle it between them I am glad Carl did
not take it. Really, this has been a very
unpleasant scene."

"I am sorry for my part in it. Carl is my
friend, and I feel that I ought to stand up for
his rights," remarked Gilbert.

"Certainly, certainly, that is right. But
you see how I am placed."

"I see that this is no place for Carl. If you
will allow me, I will send an expressman for
the trunk, and take it with me to the station."

"Yes, I see no objection. I--I would invite
you to dinner, but Mrs. Crawford seems to be
suffering from a nervous attack, and it might
not be pleasant."

"I agree with you, sir."

Just then Peter entered the room, and looked
at Gilbert with surprise and wrath, remembering
his recent discomfiture at the hands of
the young visitor.

"My stepson, Peter," announced Dr. Crawford.

"Peter and I have met before," said Gilbert, smiling.

"What are you here for?" asked Peter, rudely.

"Not to see you," answered Gilbert, turning from him.

"My mother'll have something to say to you,"
went on Peter, significantly.

"She will have something to say to you,"
retorted Gilbert. "She has found out who
stole her money."

Peter's face turned scarlet instantly, and he
left the room hurriedly.

"Perhaps I ought not to have said that, Dr
Crawford," added Gilbert, apologetically, "but
I dislike that boy very much, and couldn't
help giving him as good as he sent."

"It is all very unpleasant," responded Dr.
Crawford, peevishly. "I don't see why I can't
live in peace and tranquility."

"I won't intrude upon you any longer," said
Gilbert, "if you will kindly tell me whether
you will consent to make Carl a small weekly

"I can't say now. I want time to think.
Give me your address, and I will write to Carl
in your care."

"Very well, sir."

Gilbert left the house and made arrangements
to have Carl's trunk called for. It
accompanied him on the next train to Warren.



"How did you like my stepmother?" asked
Carl, when Gilbert returned in the afternoon.

"She's a daisy!" answered Gilbert,
shrugging his shoulders. "I don't think I ever saw
a more disagreeable woman."

"Do you blame me for leaving home?"

"I only wonder you have been able to stay so long.
I had a long conversation with your father."

"Mrs. Crawford has made a different man of him.
I should have no trouble in getting along with him
if there was no one to come between us."

"He gave me this for you," said Gilbert,
producing the ten-dollar bill.

"Did my stepmother know of his sending it?"

"No; she was opposed to sending your trunk,
but your father said emphatically you should have it."

"I am glad he showed that much spirit."

"I have some hopes that he will make you
an allowance of a few dollars a week."

"That would make me all right, but I don't expect it."

"You will probably hear from your father
to-morrow or next day, so you will have to
make yourself contented a little longer."

"I hope you are not very homesick, Mr.
Crawford?" said Julia, coquettishly.

"I would ask nothing better than to stay
here permanently," rejoined Carl, earnestly.
"This is a real home. I have met with more
kindness here than in six months at my own

"You have one staunch friend at home,"
said Gilbert.

"You don't allude to Peter?"

"So far as I can judge, he hates you like
poison. I mean Jane."

"Yes, Jane is a real friend. She has been
in the family for ten years. She was a favorite
with my own mother, and feels an interest in me."

"By the way, your stepmother's charge that
you took a wallet containing money from her
drawer has been disproved by Jane. She saw
Peter abstracting the money, and so informed
Mrs. Crawford."

"I am not at all surprised. Peter is mean
enough to steal or do anything else. What
did my stepmother say?"

"She was very angry, and threatened to
discharge Jane; but, as no one would be left to
attend to the dinner, I presume she is likely
to stay."

"I ought to be forming some plan," said Carl,

"Wait till you hear from home. Julia will
see that your time is well filled up till then.
Dismiss all care, and enjoy yourself while you may."

This seemed to be sensible advice, and Carl
followed it. In the evening some young people
were invited in, and there was a round of
amusements that made Carl forget that he was
an exile from home, with very dubious prospects.

"You are all spoiling me," he said, as
Gilbert and he went upstairs to bed. "I am
beginning to understand the charms of home. To
go out into the world from here will be like
taking a cold shower bath."

"Never forget, Carl, that you will be
welcome back, whenever you feel like coming,"
said Gilbert, laying his band affectionately on
Carl's shoulder. "We all like you here."

"Thank you, old fellow! I appreciate the
kindness I have received here; but I must strike
out for myself."

"How do you feel about it, Carl?"

"I hope for the best. I am young, strong
and willing to work. There must be an opening
for me somewhere."

The next morning, just after breakfast, a letter
arrived for Carl, mailed at Edgewood Center.

"Is it from your father?" asked Gilbert.

"No; it is in the handwriting of my
stepmother. I can guess from that that it
contains no good news."

He opened the letter, and as he read it his
face expressed disgust and annoyance.

"Read it, Gilbert," he said, handing him the
open sheet.

This was the missive:

"CARL CRAWFORD:--AS your father has a
nervous attack, brought on by your misconduct,
he has authorized me to write to you.
As you are but sixteen, he could send for you
and have you forcibly brought back, but deems
it better for you to follow your own course
and suffer the punishment of your obstinate
and perverse conduct. The boy whom you
sent here proved a fitting messenger. He
seems, if possible, to be even worse than
yourself. He was very impertinent to me, and made
a brutal and unprovoked attack on my poor
boy, Peter, whose devotion to your father and
myself forms an agreeable contrast to your
studied disregard of our wishes.

"Your friend had the assurance to ask for
a weekly allowance for you while a voluntary
exile from the home where you have been only
too well treated. In other words, you want
to be paid for your disobedience. Even if your
father were weak enough to think of complying
with this extraordinary request, I should
do my best to dissuade him."

"Small doubt of that!" said Carl, bitterly.

"In my sorrow for your waywardness, I am
comforted by the thought that Peter is too
good and conscientious ever to follow your
example. While you are away, he will do his
utmost to make up to your father for his
disappointment in you. That you may grow wise
in time, and turn at length from the error of
your ways, is the earnest hope of your stepmother,

Anastasia Crawford."

"It makes me sick to read such a letter as
that, Gilbert," said Carl. "And to have that
sneak and thief--as he turned out to be--Peter,
set up as a model for me, is a little too much."

"I never knew there were such women in the
world!" returned Gilbert. "I can understand
your feelings perfectly, after my interview of

"She thinks even worse of you than of me,"
said Carl, with a faint smile.

"I have no doubt Peter shares her
sentiments. I didn't make many friends in your
family, it must be confessed."

"You did me a service, Gilbert, and I shall
not soon forget it."

"Where did your stepmother come from?"
asked Gilbert, thoughtfully.

"I don't know. My father met her at some
summer resort. She was staying in the same
boarding house, she and the angelic Peter. She
lost no time in setting her cap for my father,
who was doubtless reported to her as a man
of property, and she succeeded in capturing him."

"I wonder at that. She doesn't seem very fascinating."

"She made herself very agreeable to my
father, and was even affectionate in her manner
to me, though I couldn't get to like her.
The end was that she became Mrs. Crawford.
Once installed in our house, she soon threw
off the mask and showed herself in her true colors,
a cold-hearted, selfish and disagreeable woman."

"I wonder your father doesn't recognize her
for what she is."

"She is very artful, and is politic enough to
treat him well. She has lost no opportunity
of prejudicing him against me. If he were
not an invalid she would find her task more

"Did she have any property when your
father married her?"

"Not that I have been able to discover. She
is scheming to have my father leave the lion's
share of his property to her and Peter. I dare
say she will succeed."

"Let us hope your father will live till you
are a young man, at least, and better able to
cope with her."

"I earnestly hope so."

"Your father is not an old man."

"He is fifty-one, but he is not strong. I
believe he has liver complaint. At any rate,
I know that when, at my stepmother's instigation,
he applied to an insurance company to
insure his life for her benefit, the application
was rejected."

"You don't know anything of Mrs. Crawford's


"What was her name before she married
your father?"

"She was a Mrs. Cook. That, as you know,
is Peter's name."

"Perhaps, in your travels, you may learn
something of her history."

"I should like to do so."

"You won't leave us to-morrow?"

"I must go to-day. I know now that I must
depend wholly upon my own exertions, and
I must get to work as soon as possible."

"You will write to me, Carl?"

"Yes, when I have anything agreeable to write."

"Let us hope that will be soon."



Carl obtained permission to leave his trunk
at the Vance mansion, merely taking out what
he absolutely needed for a change.

"When I am settled I will send for it," he said.
"Now I shouldn't know what to do with it."

There were cordial good-bys, and Carl
started once more on the tramp. He might,
indeed, have traveled by rail, for he had ten
dollars and thirty-seven cents; but it occurred
to him that in walking he might meet with
some one who would give him employment.
Besides, he was not in a hurry to get on, nor had
he any definite destination. The day was fine,
there was a light breeze, and he experienced
a hopeful exhilaration as he walked lightly on,
with the world before him, and any number
of possibilities in the way of fortunate
adventures that might befall him.

He had walked five miles, when, to the left,
he saw an elderly man hard at work in a hay
field. He was leaning on his rake, and look-
ing perplexed and troubled. Carl paused to
rest, and as he looked over the rail fence,
attracted the attention of the farmer.

"I say, young feller, where are you goin'?" he asked.

"I don't know--exactly."

"You don't know where you are goin'?"
repeated the farmer, in surprise.

Carl laughed. "I am going out in the world
to seek my fortune," he said.

"You be? Would you like a job?" asked the farmer, eagerly.

"What sort of a job?"

"I'd like to have you help me hayin'. My
hired man is sick, and he's left me in a hole.
It's goin' to rain, and----"

"Going to rain?" repeated Carl, in surprise,
as he looked up at the nearly cloudless sky.

"Yes. It don't look like it, I know, but
old Job Hagar say it'll rain before night, and
what he don't know about the weather ain't
worth knowin'. I want to get the hay on this
meadow into the barn, and then I'll feel safe,
rain or shine."

"And you want me to help you?"

"Yes; you look strong and hardy."

"Yes, I am pretty strong," said Carl, complacently.

"Well, what do you say?"

"All right. I'll help you."

Carl gave a spring and cleared the fence,
landing in the hay field, having first thrown
his valise over.

"You're pretty spry," said the farmer.
"I couldn't do that."

"No, you're too heavy," said Carl, smiling,
as he noted the clumsy figure of his employer.
"Now, what shall I do?"

"Take that rake and rake up the hay. Then we'll
go over to the barn and get the hay wagon."

"Where is your barn?"

The farmer pointed across the fields to a
story-and-a-half farmhouse, and standing near
it a good-sized barn, brown from want of paint
and exposure to sun and rain. The buildings
were perhaps twenty-five rods distant.

"Are you used to hayin'?" asked the farmer.

"Well, no, not exactly; though I've handled
a rake before."

Carl's experience, however, had been very
limited. He had, to be sure, had a rake in his
hand, but probably he had not worked more
than ten minutes at it. However, raking is
easily learned, and his want of experience was
not detected. He started off with great
enthusiasm, but after a while thought it best to
adopt the more leisurely movements of the
farmer. After two hours his hands began to
blister, but still he kept on.

"I have got to make my living by hard work,"
he said to himself, "and it won't do to let such
a little thing as a blister interfere."

When he had been working a couple of hours,
he began to feel hungry. His walk, and the
work he had been doing, sharpened his appetite
till he really felt uncomfortable. It was
at this time--just twelve o'clock--that the
farmer's wife came to the front door and blew
a fish horn so vigorously that it could probably
have been heard half a mile.

"The old woman's got dinner ready," said
the farmer. "If you don't mind takin' your
pay in victuals, you can go along home with
me, and take a bite."

"I think I could take two or three, sir."

"Ho, ho! that's a good joke! Money's scarce,
and I'd rather pay in victuals, if it's all the
same to you."

"Do you generally find people willing to
work for their board?" asked Carl, who knew
that he was being imposed upon.

"Well, I might pay a leetle more. You work
for me till sundown, and I'll give you dinner
and supper, and--fifteen cents."

Carl wanted to laugh. At this rate of
compensation he felt that it would take a long time
to make a fortune, but he was so hungry that
he would have accepted board alone if it had
been necessary.

"I agree," he said. "Shall I leave my rake here?"

"Yes; it'll be all right."

"I'll take along my valise, for I can't
afford to run any risk of losing it."

"Jest as you say."

Five minutes brought them to the farmhouse.

"Can I wash my hands?" asked Carl.

"Yes, you can go right to the sink and wash
in the tin basin. There's a roll towel behind
the door. Mis' Perkins"--that was the way
he addressed his wife--"this is a young chap
that I've hired to help me hayin'. You can
set a chair for him at the table."

"All right, Silas. He don't look very old, though."

"No, ma'am. I ain't twenty-one yet,"
answered Carl, who was really sixteen.

"I shouldn't say you was. You ain't no
signs of a mustache."

"I keep it short, ma'am, in warm weather," said Carl.

"It don't dull a razor any to cut it in cold
weather, does it?" asked the farmer, chuckling
at his joke.

"Well, no, sir; I can't say it does."

It was a boiled dinner that the farmer's
wife provided, corned beef and vegetables, but
the plebeian meal seemed to Carl the best he
ever ate. Afterwards there was apple pudding,
to which he did equal justice.

"I never knew work improved a fellow's
appetite so," reflected the young traveler.
"I never ate with so much relish at home."

After dinner they went back to the field
and worked till the supper hour, five o'clock.
By that time all the hay had been put into the barn.

"We've done a good day's work," said the
farmer, in a tone of satisfaction, "and only
just in time. Do you see that dark cloud?"

"Yes, sir."

"In half an hour there'll be rain, or I'm mistaken.
Old Job Hagar is right after all."

The farmer proved a true prophet. In half
an hour, while they were at the supper table,
the rain began to come down in large drops
--forming pools in the hollows of the ground,
and drenching all exposed objects with the
largesse of the heavens.

"Where war you a-goin' to-night?" asked the farmer.

"I don't know, sir."

"I was thinkin' that I'd give you a night's
lodgin' in place of the fifteen cents I agreed
to pay you. Money's very skeerce with me,
and will be till I've sold off some of the crops."

"I shall be glad to make that arrangement,"
said Carl, who had been considering how much
the farmer would ask for lodging, for there
seemed small chance of continuing his journey.
Fifteen cents was a lower price than he had
calculated on.

"That's a sensible idea!" said the farmer,
rubbing his hands with satisfaction at the
thought that he had secured valuable help at
no money outlay whatever.

The next morning Carl continued his tramp,
refusing the offer of continued employment on
the same terms. He was bent on pursuing
his journey, though he did not know exactly
where he would fetch up in the end.

At twelve o'clock that day he found himself
in the outskirts of a town, with the same
uncomfortable appetite that he had felt the
day before, but with no hotel or restaurant
anywhere near. There was, however, a small
house, the outer door of which stood conveniently
open. Through the open window, Carl saw a table
spread as if for dinner, and he thought it probable
that he could arrange to become a boarder for
a single meal. He knocked at the door, but no one came.
He shouted out: "Is anybody at home?" and received
no answer. He went to a small barn just outside
and peered in, but no one was to be seen.

What should he do? He was terribly hungry,
and the sight of the food on the table was

"I'll go in, as the door is open," he decided,
"and sit down to the table and eat. Somebody
will be along before I get through, and I'll
pay whatever is satisfactory, for eat I must."

He entered, seated himself, and ate heartily.
Still no one appeared.

"I don't want to go off without paying,"
thought Carl. "I'll see if I can find somebody."

He opened the door into the kitchen, but it
was deserted. Then he opened that of a small
bedroom, and started back in terror and dismay.

There suspended from a hook--a man of
middle age was hanging, with his head bent
forward, his eyes wide open, and his tongue
protruding from his mouth!



To a person of any age such a sight as that
described at the close of the last chapter might
well have proved startling. To a boy like
Carl it was simply overwhelming. It so happened
that he had but twice seen a dead person,
and never a victim of violence. The peculiar
circumstances increased the effect upon his mind.

He placed his hand upon the man's face, and
found that he was still warm. He could have
been dead but a short time.

"What shall I do?" thought Carl, perplexed.
"This is terrible!"

Then it flashed upon him that as he was
alone with the dead man suspicion might fall
upon him as being concerned in what night be
called a murder.

"I had better leave here at once," he reflected.
"I shall have to go away without paying for my meal."

He started to leave the house, but had
scarcely reached the door when two persons
--a man and a woman--entered. Both looked
at Carl with suspicion.

"What are you doing here?" asked the man.

"I beg your pardon," answered Carl; "I
was very hungry, and seeing no one about, took
the liberty to sit down at the table and eat.
I am willing to pay for my dinner if you will
tell me how much it amounts to."

"Wasn't my husband here?" asked the woman.

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